Today I followed instructions and rang the HMRC help line! Recently I have been bombarded with threats from the Tax authorities that I had a penalty notice of £100 for failing to submit an online self assessment. These penalties would rise to £1600 if I did not comply with their diktat!
What actually happened was that the software rejected my input so I sent in my P60's by snail mail. They refused to accept the physical evidence of my pensions but at least confirmed that I had submitted the evidence on time.
I rang the help desk and spoke to a clued up lady who assured me that actually I did not qualify for self assessment (pensioners rarely do) and she would sort it out.
Since then I have had threats from all quarters. You know the letters written in bold red capitals insisting that you are guilty of a misdemeanour even when you know that you are not. It is high quality bullying and would frighten to death anyone who did not have the financial capacity to withstand the threat. The whole system resembles a revenue generation exercise.
However, credit where credit is due, because apparently my helper has cancelled my penalty notice and taken me off self assessment. I have used this helpline twice and been treated with courtesy and respect. What a shame that the rest of the HMRC machine is so aggressive.
The lesson is that you must fight your corner. Do not accept their red letters! I suspect, and I am an ex Civil Servant, that all is not well at HMRC, but the people are still human when you get to speak to them! So ring them up if you have a case. Do not accept their false payment cheques. It all looks so official but it is not. Don't do it challenge it. They are making huge sums of money out of the ignorance of the public because so many people do not understand what is happening. They are using fear as a tool. It really is undemocratic but what is new?